Cruel winter fishing. Chapter 8

CRUEL WINTER FISHING
           This is how Cardan's life goes on directed to the same goal. Every new day brings a new adventure. Sometimes it seems to him that he has seized on luck and firmly holds it in his hands. The desired aim is achieved, and there is nothing left for him to strive for. But a constant hangover in the morning is a demonstration of an eternal unattainability of such a cherished aim. He understands the futility of his efforts to solve the problem once and for all. What for? How would he live then, if there was no longer a goal in life to which one should strive and constantly spin around? Thus one day is replaced by another, year by year, life fades away. How it would be gray and boring, if not for the adventures accompanied by perseverance, desire, faith in his strength, cunning, resourcefulness. And what kind of pleasure it is to feel that you are smarter than others but not to show your arrogance, outwardly always remain friendly, sympathetic, and benevolent. Such a vital position requires great inner concentration, will, and inexhaustible energy.      
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       Winter has come. Life in the village has slowed down. There are only a few people in the streets: most of them are at home. It`s hard to meet somebody to talk to and share local news. It is necessary to go to the shop - only there you can come across someone.
Winter is the most difficult time of the year. And not only because of the cold but also for the lack of communication. And what would people do in the village without television - the only entertainment in life. They know the background of many state politicians. They know who has an expensive car, house, apartment, beautiful wife. They are interested in what they do, what kind of positive change they promise to bring about, what kind of changes are good for the country and what are bad, what a candidate they should vote for, and what a candidate they shouldn`t... Sometimes you listen to such a rural political expert and marvel: where does he get so much information about our politicians? Of course, here credit is given to a TV set: it is truly a window to the world.
In winter the days are short. It is hardly gets dark when the whole family runs to the TV set. Each of them takes a seat in front of the blue screen; they hold their breaths worrying for the characters of their favorite soap operas.
"Switch to the fifth channel," calls someone of the family, a fan of politics, "the news is already on".
The news is over.
"Switch back to the soap opera," demands impatient lover of romantic films.
A man is so created that he has a feeling of caring for others. So he cannot live without worrying about broken destinies of unhappy people. In fact he does not need to help and give money to the miserable - it is totally free. So it's impossible to keep such a sufferer from other people's sorrows. It seems to be pleasant to worry about other people for free.
"Switch back, there is a political debate," insists an armchair politician.
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A fan of love dramas wants to watch the film, and she reproaches political experts with heartlessness. "We have a heart, we worry about the whole of Ukraine," they exclaim.
         Finally, the majority wins, and the TV set is switched to another channel to watch the debate. It turns out that here the passions are not less intense than in the soap opera, and even the fan of amorous adventures is involved in political discussions. The promises of the politicians are pouring like honey from a barrel: they promise to control the prices, to raise the pensions and salaries, to rebuild the factories, to revive the agriculture. Spectators absorb sweet information with open mouths. Gradually, they become adherents of one or another party; the whole family is divided into two camps: one is for an accession to Europe, the other to Russia. Heads of the audience are heated with arguments, and it comes to a confrontation in the end. Noise, screams, family squabble. At last they splashed out their emotions, pouted their lips at one another, and went to bed with revolutionary thoughts. At night the most ardent armchair politician dreams about how he speaks from the rostrum, how he waves his arms, and how he directs the rebelling people to restore justice. Encouraged by the speech of the young progressive orator, people are building their own new world destroying the old one to the ground.
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Cardan's legs got stiff, the eyelids were covered with hoarfrost, and the body began trembling as if from a horrible fright. "Yes, it would not be bad to spin around to get warmed," he thought watching the working situation over the fence.
"The miller has sent me to you. He is fishing on the local pond now. It seems that devil himself made him to go fishing in such freezing weather. He told me to go to you and ask for a bottle of vodka. He will repay you with grinding a sack of wheat into flour. You can go to him any time and he will be happy to see you and help you", said Cardan trembling with cold.

Of course, the landlord could not refuse the miller in such a situation, in such terrible weather; and it would be foolish to miss the opportunity to use his services. He rushed to the house shining with joy. Then he ran out to Cardan with a bottle of vodka.
"Here you are. There's also a snack in the bag. And tell him that tomorrow I'll come to the mill with a sack of grain."
Vodka warmed Cardan's heart and soul, and he uttered his famous words challenging, it seemed, the frost itself, "It's necessary to spin around. A driveshaft (cardan in Ukrainian) rotates - the car is moved".
          The next day the landlord loaded a sack of grain on a bicycle and went to the mill. With an important gait and a benevolent look on his face he approached the miller. “Did Cardan bring you a bottle of vodka and a snack? As agreed, I`m here with a sack of grain to grind".
"What bleeding vodka, what grain, what Cardan?" The miller was taken by surprise. "As long as I live, I have never gone fishing in winter". With the last expression he exhausted the stock of words and could add nothing more.
"Oh, goodness, he has cheated me!"
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         The landlord loaded the sack of grain furiously back onto the bicycle and rode home clenching his teeth with cold and anger. The same words were reverberating in his head , "Oh, scoundrel! Oh, bastard! Oh, con man! How can people be trusted after that? Once you have a pity on someone and help them out, you immediately get problems on your head. Next time I will be more cautious," he consoled himself and gave the bicycle a go pushing harder on the pedals.
A cold wind blew into his face which pleasantly cooled the hot, filled with thoughts head of the naive landlord. He was offended and ashamed that he, such an excellent expert in politics, was fooled like a child. And by whom? By stupid Cardan!
The snow cracked rhythmically under the wheels of the bicycle and interrupted constantly sad thoughts acting distractingly. Finally, the landlord managed to acquit himself for his inner peace, "Everything that happens is for the best." An arrogant grin twisted his face. "Never mind, next time I'll be smarter. Experience is the best teacher."
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